ENVIS Centre on Environmental Education and Sustainable Development

Hosted by Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad, India

Sponsored by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India

Environmental Education in Formal System in India
 
The Supreme Court of India in December 2010 has conveyed its acceptance of the NCERT's Affidavit outlining the method of implementation of EE in India. Following the publication of the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and the Supreme Court ruling on Environment Education, the NCERT suggests the following method of implementation of EE. For more details see the NCERT's Affidavit to the Supreme Court.
Classes Mode of Transaction
 I and II  Through Activities
 III to V  Environmental Studies (EVS)
 VI to X  Infusion Model
 XI to XII  Project based study

The NCERT has developed project books for standards V to XII which are available at NCERT's Webpages on EE (click on the standard wise links, which opens the pdf of the content pages; click on the contents to access the rest of the pages of the book). The NCERT Handbook for EE is available for download at the bottom of this page.

Evolution of EE in India

In India, our social values and attitudes have, historically and culturally been in harmony with the environment. If one reads our own literature, the writing of our sages, our religious texts, all of these reflect the recognition that all life on the earth-human life included is intimately dependent on the quality of the environment. These also talk of the humbleness of human in this larger system, and the need and responsibility to protect it.

The Indian constitution captured much of these deep-rooted values and further strengthened themby giving responsibility to its citizens to protect the environment. The constitution enjoins the state to "take measures to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country" (Article 48 -A).

It also makes it a "fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have ecological compassing for the living creatures" (Article 51 A (g)).

EE in India's National Policy on Education

Environmental education has been an area of concern in all curriculum development programmes in India. The movement of Basic Education launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1937, was perhaps the first serious attempt at relating education in schools to local environmental needs. The essential elements of Basic Education were: productive activity in education; correlation of curriculum with the productive activity and the social environment; and the intimate contact between the school; and local community.

The best that Basic Education had to offer was incorporated in the Report of the Education Commission (1964-66) so as to relate it to the life, needs and aspirations of the nation. For the primary stage, the Report recommended, "the aim of teaching science in the primary school should be to develop proper understanding of the main facts, concepts, principles and processes in the physical and biological environment".

The National Policy on Education, 1986 (NPE) states that "Protection of the Environment" is a value, which along with certain other values must form an integral part of curriculum at all stages of education. Para 8.15 of the Policy states:

"There is a paramount need to create a consciousness of the Environment. It must be permeate all ages and all sections of society, beginning with the child. Environmental consciousness should inform teaching in schools and colleges. This aspect will be integrated in the entire educational process".

The national system of education, as defined in the National Policy on Education 1986, visualized a national curriculum framework which contains a common core including several elements having direct bearing on the natural and social environment of the pupils, such as: Protection of the environment, content essential to nurture national identity, and inculcation of the scientific temper. These core areas are expected to occupy a place of prominence not only in the instructional material, but also in the classroom and out-of-school activities.

Following the National Policy on Education, NCERT brought out detailed curriculum guidelines and model syllabi for classes I to X reflecting these ideas. The approach strongly recommended adoption of innovative teaching and learning techniques. Subsequently curriculum frameworks brought out by the NCERT in 1988, 2000 and 2005 reiterated the importance of EE in school education.

For the primary stage, the Report recommended, "the aim of teaching science in the primary school should be to develop proper understanding of the main facts, concepts, principles and processes in the physical and biological environment".